My friend the wonderful and funny Diane Henders recently posted a few notes about times she’s managed to hurt herself in somewhat embarrassing fashions, and called for comments. As I commented, it occurred to me that many of you might appreciate some of my pain as well.
Despite having inadvertently proven that I cannot support my body weight with my left arm at full extension, by dint of dislocating said left arm at the shoulder … twice …. my best, if that’s the right word for it, was actually an incident involving the lawn. I was outside, mowing the grass. (I suppose this would have been a much more interesting story had I been inside mowing the grass.) I decided that the grass needed to be shorter than I was making it, so I stopped the mower – of course I stopped the mower! I’m not stupid, after all. I stopped the mower, then adjusted the wheels next to me. Being always economical of motion, which is not the same as lazy, thank you very much, I leaned over the mower to adjust the wheels on the other side. I realized I didn’t have the leverage to quite reach, so I leaned on the top of the mower with my right hand.
Do you know what’s on the top of the mower? The exhaust manifold, it turns out. Can you describe the exhaust manifold of a gas mower that’s been running for 10 minutes or so? If you said, HOT, you’re right.
There were two parts of this that were embarrassing. The first was that my wife insisted on driving me to the local ER/Clinic. This is not a full fledged ER or hospital, this is just a “patch them up, put it in a cast and send them on their way” type station. We walked in and the people behind the desk started panicking, telling us, “No, no! We’re not equipped, we can’t do this here!”
That’s when I realized that they were looking at a man walking in under his own power next to his 8-and-a-half-months pregnant wife. SOBUMD waved them off, pointed at me, and said, “Don’t worry, I’m with Stupid.”
The worst part of the ER trip was that this time, SOBUMD was with me when the nurse asked me when my last tetanus shot had been. “Oh, I don’t remember, but certainly in the last 3 or 4 years,” said the guy who hates needles and really didn’t want a tetanus shot. “You liar,” piped up my lovely bride, “we’ve been married more than 11 years and you haven’t had a tetanus shot since I’ve known you!” WHAM, right in the shoulder, like my body didn’t hurt enough already.
But that wasn’t the MOST embarrassing part of burning myself on the lawn mower. That was reserved for the scar, which was, essentially, a brand. You see, the exhaust manifold of the mower assumes that you might not read English, so the warnings are in symbols. Specifically, there’s a picture of a hand – a right hand, even – inside a circle, with a big line through it: a universal Do Not Touch. This symbol, along with several of the holes from the exhaust manifold, was now neatly branded onto my palm.
There are few things that have ever managed to highlight my own idiocy as effectively. I couldn’t use my mouse hand for week. This was also about the time that my neighbors stopped letting me use power tools….